Colonial Forge edged then-No. 9 Forest Park in the first two games of their best-of-five match Saturday, and Coach Keith Mesa was in no mood for a premature celebration.
Before the Eagles returned to their home floor for the third game, he reminded them that Forest Park was down two games to none in the Virginia AAA championship two years ago only to rally to beat Tallwood for the title.
The coach's warning seemed to register. The Eagles not only finished off the 25-21, 25-22, 28-26 victory, they also handled Centreville later in the day, 25-14, 25-18, 29-27, avenging a five-game loss to the Wildcats last month.
In the span of a few hours, Colonial Forge (11-4, 7-0) had swept both the 2003 state champion and a team that had reached the past six state tournaments, weathering each opponent's third-game "desperation bid," as Mesa called it.
Sophomore middle hitter Emily Mohrman, for one, was not too concerned about a letdown against Forest Park.
"Once we get up to our intensity level, everyone starts playing better and it's like a snowball effect," said Mohrman, who had 14 kills and four blocks in the wins.
Other Saturday standouts included junior Emily Frohnapfel (16 kills, 3 aces, 2 blocks); sophomores Bianca Richardson (16 kills, 4 aces, 5 blocks) and Audrey Harris (21 digs, 8 kills, 4 blocks); and freshman Sarah Frohnapfel (58 assists, 3 aces).
Perhaps the best news for the Eagles, who start three players up front who are 6 feet or taller, is that only one of their starters is a senior, and only one is a junior.
"Our kids are really excited," said Mesa, 48-14 in his three seasons as coach. "Most importantly, I think they now know what they're capable of doing. Now the job is for them to understand what they can do but level out and know that's the way they have to play all the time."
Earlier in the season, Colonial Forge beat defending state semifinalists First Colonial and Mills Godwin. The Eagles' losses have been to Cave Spring, Floyd Kellam and Deep Run -- all ranked in a state coaches' top 10 poll -- and Centreville.